Sunday, May 31, 2015

Standard Candle

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 4526, a galaxy in the Virgo Cluster. The appearance of a Type 1a supernova allowed astronomers to help refine Hubble's Constant, the overall shape of the universe and more.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 4945, a edge-on spiral galaxy in the constellation of far Centaurus. What beats at the center of this galaxy?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pluto Approach

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video from the New Horizons spacecraft, now approaching Pluto and Charon! Flyby on July 14!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Arms of the Galaxy

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Milky Way supported by the arms of a earthbound tree. "Mouseover" the image for a constellation guide.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Slow Mix

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the merger between two galaxies, a process only slightly slower than the union between two tortoises.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bring Him Back!

Quite possibly the one comic artist that I have appreciated the longest is Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. I first encountered his work in the pages of Heavy Metal (the Americanized version of the French Metal Hurlant). He worked on Alien and other films such as The Fifth Element. Occasionally you could find a collection of his, but vast amounts of work (Lieutenant Blueberry) remained impossible to find (or could only be had at "collectible" prices). Since his death, it appears that other than some digital collections, he's "faded" from the scene.

Let's correct this, please?

Meat in a Tube

Possibly the most important chart you'll ever find on the internet.

Tortured Terrain

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a view from the ESA's Rosetta orbiter, busily exploring Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Is that a cliff looming in the distance? Where is the sleeping lander Philae?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a detailed look into the globular cluster 47 Tuc (NGC 104) in the constellation of the Toucan (yes, the Toucan). Richard Feynman once said of globular clusters:

"He who cannot see gravity at work here has no soul."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jupiter Space

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful shot (courtesy of the hard-working Damien Peach) of Jupiter, Ganeymede and the Great Red Spot.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the mysterious bright spots on the surface of dwarf planet Ceres. Views from the Dawn vehicle will only get better and better. What is causing the reflection?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

No Easy Target

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Barnard 33, better known as The Horsehead Nebula (think a chess piece it that helps) in the constellation of Orion. Not an easy target under my increasingly poor suburban skies; I've only spotted it a few times, even with various filters.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Night Skies of the Sacred Peak

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the night skies (and creeping city skyglow) from Mauna Kea. "Mouseover" the image to help identify some of the constellations and several planets.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celestial Sauron

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a Hubble Space Telescope image of MyCn18 (how's that for a designation?). An hourglass-shaped planetary nebula in the constellation of Musca (one of the many somewhat obscure constellations of the southern hemisphere), it is sometimes better named as the Engraved Hourglass Nebula. I think it has a somewhat piratical or sorcerous look. The other eye of Sauron?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Triple Lion

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Leo Triplet: NGC 3628, Messier 66 and Messier 65. It's always been a mystery to me why Charles Messier catalogued two but not the third.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Wheel of Stars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day flips the sky around and puts Vega in the northern polar climes. Will we be around to see it? Or that castle?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Summer Triangle framed behind a blossoming cherry tree in Gunma, Japan. "Mouseover" the image to get a constellation guide.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015


A delay due to a lost lens cap led to today's Astronomy Picture of the Day: spectacular auroral activity in the skies of Norway. (I do wonder, however, if they ever found that lens cap!)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Nuclear Option (My 2015 Hugo Vote)

I spent a lot of working on my list of nominations of works worthy of a Hugo Award that appeared in 2014. However, unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you'll know that most of what I nominated did not make it.

There has been a lot of talk about how to vote. Well, long story short: You (Puppies, Either Stripe) have your opinion and some of you (Puppies, mostly Rabid) have made your threats. You dug your grave. Go lie in it. I may have voted for some of your nominees in the various categories such as Best Professional Editor (Long Form) if you hadn't gone the route you went. I have nominated some of your names in the past; I did so again this year [specifically, again, Best Professional Editor (Long Form)]. stand for something I do not. Those nominees who have not dropped from your slate have, in my opinion, embraced your philosophy. So, no vote, no matter how I may have felt previous to this.

My votes:


Three-Body Problem (Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, Tor Books)
The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison, Tor Books)
Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie, Orbit)


No Award


The Day the World Turned Upside Down (Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lightspeed)
No Award


No Award


No Award


Ms. Marvel Volume 1
Saga Volume 3
Rat Queens Volume 1
Sex Criminals Volume 1
The Zombie Nation Book 2

*This entry previously showed Zombie Nation. This did not reflect how I actually voted. The entry has been changed.


Guardians of the Galaxy
Captain America: Winter Soldier
The Lego Movie
Edge of Tomorrow


Listen (Doctor Who)
By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried (Orphan Black)
The Mountain and the Viper (Game of Thrones)
Once We Were Gods (Grimm)
Pilot (The Flash)

**Since I was asked about this: Yes, some of these titles are on the Puppy slates. But they are not Puppy created. Goes to show you even a stopped clock can be correct at least once a year.


No Award


Anne Sowards
No Award


Julie Dillon
No Award


Strange Horizons
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
No Award


Journey Planet
No Award


Galactic Suburbia
Tea and Jeopardy


Laura J. Mixon
No Award


Ninni Aalto
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles
Brad Foster


Wesley Chu
No Award

And that's all she wrote.

Shadow World

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Moon front of...a mountain. Or is it?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a section of Mercury, constructed from image and laser altimeter data, from the Mercury MESSENGER orbiter. That probe, alas, is no more. Having gotten every possible gram of thrust out of the onboard fuel (including using some gas that was not intended as fuel), the vehicle impacted on the surface of Mercury yesterday at around 1526 hours Eastern. A job well done and a fantastic mission!